Terna, the national electricity grid operator, already known in the cultural sphere for its prestigious Terna Prize, has launched in 2022 the ‘Driving Energy 2022 Prize – Contemporary Photography’, a free competition open to all photographers in Italy, aimed at promoting and developing the country’s culture and new talent. Photographers were invited “to turn their gaze on the contemporary scene to offer an artistic view of Terna’s mission, in its role as leader and facilitator of energy transition.”
The five award-winning photographic works were part of an extended exhibition that included all 35 finalists, which was set up within the frame of Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome in November 2022. In addition to the two-week physical exhibition, the works are still visible in the Metaverse from the platform Spatial which can be accessed via browser, smartphone app or using a 3D visor, a project that marked the ‘first time’ in the Metaverse for both Terna and Palazzo delle Esposizioni.
This space provides an overview of how the works were installed in the space. There are two further channels of particular interest: the box set distributed at the inaugural event and the third edition of the photographic volume ‘Driving Energy’, which is available as an official catalogue and can be downloaded here, free of charge.
In particular, we are keen to bring the very elegant multiple – object containing reproductions of the exhibited works, a very elegant white slipcase containing all the works with their respective explanations in postcard form. Each selected work is reproduced with great care given to the choice of paper when transformed from one format to another.The selection of loose postcards in the slipcase breaks the hierarchy of bound sheets, frees the works by showcasing their individuality and liberates the reader from a linear reading, materialising each work in its own multiple.
The award-winning works, selected by a jury made up of a cross-section of the population, were also recognised for the relationship between themes and technique. The work I Ginestra by Paolo Ventura (Senior Prize) was recognised for “the originality of its interpretation, “subtle and simultaneously rich in implications and references,” and for reworking the theme of energy through a rediscovery of humanity in the movement of two acrobats set in a metaphysical city.
With Stereocaulon vesuvianum, Gaia Renis (Junior Prize) impressed the jurors “for the courage shown in presenting a work centred on the paradox of photographing the invisible.” Her work explores energy through a microscopic dimension, in particular through the Vesuvian lichen formed from the symbiosis of a fungus and an alga able to resist and adapt to complex ecosystems through an exchange of energy that passes from alga to fungus via photosynthesis.
Special Mention was given to Mohamet Keita with his Camminare e Camminare ‘for having offered, with a composition remarkable for its aesthetic impact and conceptual density, a reflection that also restores two fundamental characteristics of energy as a central element of contemporary normality’.
The Special Mention award went to ‘Circolarità. Corsi e ricorsi’ went to Eva Frapiccini (44) “for having chosen to bring to the stage that particular form of ‘relational and devotional energy’ that animates the dialogue between artists who are distant in time and space. Dialogue that, in turn, is based on the ‘transmission of energy’ inherent to works of art and their ‘spirit’, and which consists of a universal language.”
Andrea Botto’s L’Onda d’urto(which won the public vote), a plunge into the microscopic world of the transformation of matter, represents an image of an instant when a shockwave fuse, generally used in the explosives industry, is thrown into the air.These are the choices of the jury and public. Walking through the exhibition between physical spaces and leafing through the postcards in no particular order, several striking works emerge, also in relation to their themes. Driving stars by Rocco Rorandelli consists of images collected in the Maritime Alps on both French and Italian territory, representing the interconnection between remote environments and elements. Existing long before and after us. Stefano Cagol’s Golta, awarded the Terna Prize in xxx captures, through the use of a drone, the light on the Norwegian island of Golta, where dark magmatic stones are ablaze with light. Luca Spano’s Symphony of Chances, with a series of six images, once again enters the microscopic world of elementary particles in a project realised in collaboration with Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research Fair/GSI and Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology, to explore not only the limits of vision but also the concept of ‘limit’ itself, a ‘lever that triggers the speculative process leading researchers to imagine the beyond (…).”
“Di acrobati e altre storie. Fotografie dal Premio Driving Energy”, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, until 12 February, 2023
editorial coordination by TernaCult / Francesca Campana | institutional texts by Valentina Bosetti, Terna Chairman, Stefano Antonio Donnarumma, CEO and General Manager, curator Marco Delogu and brief statements from the jurors
images: (cover 1) Premio Driving Energy, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Installation view (2) Premio Driving Energy, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Installation view (3) Premio Driving Energy – Gallery on Metaverso (4) Paolo Ventura, «I Ginestra», Senior Award (5) Gaia Renis, «Stereocaulon vesuvianum» Joung Award (6) Mohamed Keitah,«Camminare camminare», Mention (7) Eva Frapiccini, «La porta di luce alias Hommage to D.M», Mention (8) Andrea Botto, «Onda D’urto», Mention